I-League: Bengaluru FC take on Pune FC with an eye on first win at new home
Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC will look to garner their first full points of the new I-League season when they take on Pune FC at the Kanteerava Stadium, in Bangalore, on Saturday. The Blues began their title defence with a 0-0 draw against Dempo at home last weekend and Ashley Westwood’s team will be keen on laying the foundations of home dominance that they successfully crafted last season.
Bengaluru last met Pune in the group stages of the Federation Cup three weeks ago where a Sunil Chhetri brace gave the Blues a 2-1 result.
However, Westwood refused to look into past meetings between the two sides as he maintained that his opposition presented a different challenge from the one the Blues faced in the group stages of the Federation Cup. The visitors have also shored up their foreign player department by signing midfielder Edgar Marcelino and Darko Nikac since the Fed Cup exit.
“For me, it’ll be hard to judge Pune based on what they have done in the past. They have two new foreigners available for selection. Their past form is out the window. Any dominance they have had in any games is out the window. They’ll be a different side and a different challenge tomorrow.”
Having missed the services of marquee player Joshua Walker in the first game, Westwood provided an update on the midfielder’s injury while adding that his squad is ready to face such challenges. “Joshua pulled his hamstring in the Federation Cup final which was only about 12 days ago. He’s struggling at the moment so I don’t think he’ll be available. The good thing about our club is that we do our homework properly. We’ll be prepared and we’ll adapt to whatever situation comes our way.” Westwood said.
Despite dropping two points to a late equalizer against Salgaocar in the opening game, Pune FC Head Coach Karim Bencherifa was full of praise for his side’s performance against the Goans.
“I don’t think it was a disappointing game. I was very happy with the result. The performance of the boys has been good even in the games that we have lost. When we played Bengaluru in the Federation Cup, we had a major share of possession and we gave them a good fight,” Bencherifa said.
The game kicks off at 7 pm and will be live on Ten Action.